Did you know how many types of basil there are? In my short life experience with growing it, I’ve grown Thai basil, Genovese basil, sweet basil, amethyst basil, Greek basil & cinnamon basil. And there are plenty more varieties. This year, we kept it to 3 kinds; sweet basil, purple ruffles basil (which has deep purple ruffled leaves & has an almost anise smell to it) and cinnamon basil. And it’s not just basil I love experimenting with. We have two types of dill, two types of oregano, three types of sage…
I love having them around, especially to sneak into jams and preserves. They’re always unexpected, and leave the taster saying, “Wait.. what is that flavor?!”
Two years ago I did it with blueberries and regular basil. The year before that? I popped some cilantro into raspberry jam with jalapeños. Last year I made my dad an experimental small jar of mixed berry jam with cinnamon basil, and it was such a hit I decided to try it again. This time, I’m doing a plain raspberry jam… with a sneaky little bit of cinnamon basil strewn in.
Cinnamon basil -which is also known as Mexican spice basil- smells like a strange combo of basil & cinnamon; moreso cinnamon. It’s a very unique smell & flavor. It actually contains the same chemical (methyl cinnamate) that gives cinnamon it’s flavor. When popped into a jam, it really helps the jam straddle that line between sweet & savory.
When it blooms it’s purply pink flowers, I like to cut them and put them in a jar in the kitchen. Also, I’ve had them actually take root and propagated new plants that way. But enough about that. We’re jammin’!
Oh hey- first jam of the season, guys!
SMALL BATCH RASPBERRY CINNAMON BASIL JAM
Makes one pint
- 12 ounces raspberries, rinsed & dried thoroughly
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- the leaves from one sprig of cinnamon basil, finely minced or cut into a chiffonade (about 6-7 leaves of varying sizes)
- Sterilize your jar(s) and keep them hot. Set aside.
- Add the raspberries and sugar to a medium saucepan and mash the berries with a potato masher. Cook on low heat while continuing to mash with a wooden spoon until all berries have been mostly crushed.
- Add the lemon juice and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, for 12-15 minutes. Check for set, then add the basil and stir thoroughly to incorporate.
- Ladle into hot jars. Add lids and bands to fingertip tight, then process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Let sit for 12 hours before checking the seal. If its not sealed, use it right away or put it in the fridge. If it sealed, it will keep for a year.
The recipe could probably be easily doubled with good results. Any larger batches than that, I’d do in… well… batches. There’s really no need to halve it, being such a small batch anyway, but I suppose you could do that too. It would also work for blueberries, possibly strawberries. Definitely blackberries. And a mix of any of those would be fine. Seedless jam can be made by mashing the raspberries through a sieve or a strainer. I like to leave the seeds in because they have natural pectin in them, which allows me to skip using any boxed pectin.
However, let me say that its fine to play around, but a similar taste would probably NOT come from adding regular basil & a dash of cinnamon. Nuh-uh. Either go with the cinnamon basil or don’t.
Peekaboo! Theres some cinnamon basil!
Of course, if you’re not as adventurous as I, or you don’t have such a thing as cinnamon basil, you can leave out the basil entirely and make a basic raspberry jam. And if you have regular basil, or cilantro, or lemon balm, or lavender, or whatever herb you love, you can substitute that with no problem as well.
And please, if you have never canned before, read this entire post before attempting.